In february 2019 we attended the inaugural spirit of running awards gala at the city hotel, armagh.
The awards were an opportunity to celebrate the growth and popularity of running(road & trail) for people of all abilities.
We were delighted to be the charity partner for the evening and the night was made even more special when aaron was named as the 'male inspirational runner'.
It is with immense pride that we can announce that our wonderful son Aaron has been recognised in His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honour list and been awarded the Medallist of the order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to Disability Awareness and to Assisted Running in the United Kingdom.
We are delighted that the honours system is recognising diversity and people of all abilities, sending out an extremely positive message that whatever your disability, with the right support you can be a role model, inspire others and achieve great things within your community. As Aaron’s Mum and Dad we have always been extremely proud of how Aaron overcomes the daily challenges he faces with courage and positivity. This recognition of Aaron’s hard work and how he has given back to the community is testament to the man he has become, serving to only increase our pride even further. When Aaron was born our lives were turned upside down and the future seemed like a very dark and scary place. Over the following years we cried so many tears through endless hospital appointments, surgeries and impossible decisions we had to make. Life in those days seemed so cruel and unfair as we drifted from diagnosis to diagnosis with everything looking so bleak. If you had told us back then that our boy would go on to receive an BEM we simply would not have believed you.
For almost 9 years now Aaron has run all over the UK and Ireland, inspiring people and spreading his message of inclusion. He has run 51 marathons as well as hundreds of other events, named one of the UK’s most influential disabled people in 2019, changed the rules at London and Manchester marathon so that assisted runners can take part, voted most inspirational male runner at the Spirit of Running, been awarded a Points of Light from the Prime Ministers office, received the Spirit of London Marathon, as well as many other achievements and countless people have been on the end of one of his famous hugs, with many more having been made to shake hands and become friends with complete strangers!!
We know that lots of you think highly of Aaron and we want to say thank you for all the support you have given him (and us) over the years, it really does mean a great deal to our family. Before we started running we felt isolated and cut off from the rest of society and we weren’t sure how we would be accepted, but it is safe to say that the majority of people understand what we are doing, but more importantly the reason why we do it, and that reason is simply Aaron.
POINTS OF LIGHT AWARD
The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list is published every year to recognise and celebrate the 100 most influential disabled people within the UK.
The list comprises of 7 categories:
Arts, Fashion and Design Business, Finance and I.T Entertainment Politics and Law Education, Public and Third Sector Digital, Media and Publishing Sport
We as parents were extremely proud when we were all invited to the House of Lords for the launch of the 2019 list.
Aaron has been selected to feature on the 2019 list and has been included in the sports category. We are delighted that he received this recognition for which he not only deserves, but has worked extremely hard for. The list also includes people such as Lee Ridley(Lost Voice Guy), Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Anne Hegerty, Ade Adepitan, Warwick Davis, many more amazing people with an MBE/CBE, and now our wee son from County Down 💚
In our experience, people who have complex needs can often be overlooked and under estimated by society, and even more so those with communication difficulties. Our son faces these challenges and difficulties daily, so to be recognised, respected and valued for his contribution to society is absolutely incredible and a true credit to Aaron.
Aaron has been included for his contribution and achievements within sport, also being recognised as an ambassador for assisted running.
As well as making the 2019 list, Aaron has the pride of being the only person from Northern Ireland to feature on it.
This is a huge honour for Aaron and our family, and it proves that whatever disability you may have, whether physical, learning, or both, you can achieve great things with the right encouragement and support.
We were surprised and delighted to be presented after the race with the “The Extra Mile for Grace Award”.
The award is in memory of the late Grace Gilliland who was a regular participant in the event and is awarded to an individual or team who do that little bit extra when taking part. Thank you, it means so much to us and we were honoured to receive the certificate from Grace’s mummy Olga.
spirit of running gala awards
Aaron William kerr bem
Aaron was delighted to receive the Inclusion Award on behalf of Team Kerr from Running at 40 Plus.
It is great to see people with complex needs being recognised within the running community and valued for what they bring. We have seen some big changes in inclusion over the years, but there is still lots more that needs to be done and Aaron will keep working hard to make sure it happens .
Running at 40 plus
It’s not everyday you are contacted by the DCMS on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office!! Aaron has been recognised for his work within Team Kerr, and the incredible steps taken to make road races more inclusive for assisted runners with a ‘Point of Light’ award. Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers-people who are making a difference in their community. Every week day the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the daily Points of Light award. Today’s recipient is Aaron, and we couldn’t be more proud
Aaron has been named ‘Sports Personality of the Month’ for October 2022 by Be Active Stay Active Lisburn Castlereagh. This is in recognition of the change Aaron has made at the London Marathon for assisted runners.
A big thank you to Lisburn Council and Decathlon for acknowledging Aaron’s hard work and dedication